Montessori is a method of education that is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning, and collaborative play. In Montessori classrooms, children make creative choices in their learning, while the classroom and the teacher offer age-appropriate activities to guide the process.

Characteristics of Montessori Education

Mixed Age Groupings

The classes are composed of a 3 year age span for both elementary and pre-school programs. Each class includes children ages 3-6, 6-9, 9-12, or 12-14. This allows for peer teaching, broad social interactions, individual differences in learning style and pace, and creates a social community of family. It provides the youngest students with a graded series of role models and the older students with peer teaching opportunities for reinforcement of learning. 

Suder Montessori divides students into four distinct groupings:

Early Childhood (EC): ages 3-5

Elementary 1 (E1): Grades 1-3

Elementary 2 (E2): Grades 4-6

Middle School (MS): Grades 7-8


Designed Environment/Materials 

The school environment is prepared with a variety of specially designed Montessori materials - multi-sensory, sequential and self-correcting. Educational materials are carefully selected to meet the needs of range of students in each class and to meet the goals of the program. 

Hands-on Approach To Learning 

The use of materials for learning in the Montessori classroom is an integral part of the program from pre-school through the elementary years. Based on a belief that children learn by doing, lessons for math, language and all subject areas include hands-on materials for use by the student. 

"Montessori: Valuing Diversity," with Andrew Solomon

National book award winner Andrew Solomon (Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity) discusses how teaching children to value diversity and accept differences can have a profound impact on society.

Child Directed Program 

Within the structure of the classroom and curriculum, children are encouraged to pursue their interests, make responsible choices for themselves and direct themselves to constructive activities. Since children's interests vary, this opportunity results in an independent, self-motivated learner. 

Individualized Instruction 

Each child learns and develops at her/his own pace through the use of materials and lessons introduced by trained staff. The integrated curriculum is introduced sequentially and at the developmental level of each individual child, allowing every child to work to capacity and at their ability level. 

"What Children Teach Us About Peace," with John Hunter

John Hunter, creator of the World Peace Game, shares his thoughts about peace education and how Maria Montessori’s ideals of the prepared environment and following the child can lead to new discoveries for students and educators alike.